New initiative hopes to help workers find affordable housing at Lake of the Ozarks

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. -- City leaders across the Lake of the Ozarks are trying to help workers afford homes in the community they work in.

Those workers include nurses, teachers, bank tellers, factory workers, construction workers, and other service industry employees.

There is a problem, though.

"There's not enough affordable, medium-range housing available," said Dave Van Dee, Lake Ozark City Administrator. "That's been the challenge. To identify how we can get that built."

So, the Lake of the Ozarks Council of Local Governments met with a company - Rural Housing 360 - to potentially form a partnership with them to help.

"Home ownership, for most folks is their greatest source of wealth," said Steve Gilbert, Founder of Rural Housing 360.

Rural Housing 360 says it helps potential home buyers through the process of getting a mortgage. Then, they help use that to build a new home, or buy one that fits their budget.

"We will help them build the new home. We'll stay with them right through close," Gilbert said.

This isn't like your normal low income housing, which is subsidized by the government. There is no income cap to use the service... and the organization boasts zero down payments and closing costs.

Instead, The community or individual cities, as well as employers who want to help, have to help out.

For example, Employers are asked to provide incentives to employees to have them buy a home in the community.

Communities are asked to waive building permit fees, help provide trash removal, and to pay an annual $360 dollar fee.

Van Dee says he's excited to help.

"Those are some of the issues that we're working with," Van Dee said. "I'm pretty excited that we have these other groups that are really starting to dig in and say, 'what can we do?' This is just another tool that would help with all of it.'

Rural Housing 360 says it's now up to businesses and the cities on whether or not to use their services.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.